Morrisburg Doctor Says Geothermal is Healthier
He was the first obstetrician in the Morrisburg area, sometimes delivering babies by gaslight and getting paid with five-dollar bills with a picture of King George VI on them. Dr. Gerry Rosenquist and Lois Rosenquist moved from western Canada to Williamsburg in 1960. “King George was Queen Elizabeth’s father. She had already been Queen for 8 years,” says Gerry. “They must have stashed those bills for a long time. They didn’t trust banks in those days.”
Gerry and Lois were young and liked people, communities, and families. Lois was a schoolteacher and mother. She and Gerry raised five children here. Jerry liked curling and organizing the teams at the Williamsburg rink. He cared about healthy families. He founded the St. Lawrence Medical Clinic in Morrisburg, eventually attracting a dozen other doctors to the region. One of Gerry’s teams won the Ontario Medical Bonspiel (curling) in 1970.
“In 1976 we put electric baseboard heat in our house. It was good until electricity became expensive. When we built the new house in Iroquois I wanted something that would be healthy for the family. Geothermal ended up being the least expensive option and geo is healthier than oil or gas. No swings and valleys. Not a big blast of hot air or cold air. It’s more gentle. It’s better for you.”
He says having family around is healthier too. “We built the lower level apartment so the kids and grandchildren could visit, and they would have their own space. So we ended up with a 4,000 square foot house.”
Now their oldest daughter Kim is selling her house to her own daughter (which also has geothermal heating and cooling) and is buying Gerry and Lois’ place. “It’s a family affair,” says Gerry “And now we’re going to become tenants.”
The Iroquois place has a 4-ton heat pump closed-loop geothermal system with 2400 feet of pipe laid out in a five-foot deep trench. “It’s swampy down here. Lot’s of thermal energy,” says Jerry. “I always thought geothermal provided the best heat and was the most energy-efficient. Then when we looked into it, we found that it was also the least expensive.
“It’s cheaper than gas or oil heat or electric baseboard heaters. Our electricity costs average about $4oo a month and about half of that is for cooling & heating. Jimmie says oil heat would be 40% more and conventional air conditioning would double our cooling costs.”
He is referring to Jimmie Thom of ATEL Air in Williamsburg, who installed the system. Because it falls into the clean energy category, many people think geothermal is new, but ATEL has actually been installing systems for about 35 years, since 1984. His father started a heating company in 1949 and ATEL now has eight crews serving the area from their shop on County Road 31.
“Geothermal is healthier for the family in the house and it’s healthier for our environment too,” says Doctor Gerry. “My kids are very environmentally conscious and I think we have to preserve natural surroundings and stop contaminating the air that we breathe. When we were making electricity from coal, that was not a good idea. Geothermal is a good idea. Geothermal and hydro don’t interfere with your health or the environment.”